Heathrow third runway

The expansion is due to begin in 2015
Heathrow airport runway

A third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow airport have been given the go-ahead today by transport secretary, Geoff Hoon.

The controversial expansion is due to begin in 2015, following years of protest from local residents and environmental campaigners. Two thousand homes in the village of Sipson will be demolished to make way for the new facilities.

The proposals incorporate plans for improving public transport to the airport, including a high-speed rail link between London and the north with a service linking St Pancras and Heathrow.

BAA's Chief Executive, Colin Matthews, said "This decision opens the door to Heathrow becoming a truly world class hub airport, and to the UK maintaining the direct connections to the rest of the world on which our prosperity depends.

"Meeting the environmental targets will be demanding, but, whilst we have to study the detail in today's announcement, we are determined to work with the rest of the aviation industry to achieve them.

"We are also fully aware that today's decision will be a difficult one for many, particularly those residents who will be directly affected by it. We intend to work with the local community as much as possible as we go through the planning process."

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